Monday, April 27, 2009

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Tulips originate from mountainous areas with temperate climates and need a period of cool dormancy. They do best in climates with long cool springs and early summers. Fortunately, Skagit Valley, about an hour and a half north of Seattle, is just a perfect.

Saturday afternoon Dominic and I drove up to La Conner and enjoyed walking through the immense tulip and daffodil fields in bloom.

La Conner

Tulip Fields

Garmir, Kapuit, Tsiranaguin!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lesson learned

Today I joined Dominic on a South Lake Union pier for lunch in the sunshine. I learned that as difficult as underemployment can be, it provides opportunities to enjoy the people and places that are so often taken for granted.

Monday, April 20, 2009

After the event: Objectivity, Balance and Trust...

The Christian Science Monitor hosted a panel discussion on the changing face of journalism in it's downtown reading room today.

The Christian Science Monitor exemplifies the changing media landscape. The more than 100-year-old publication has gone from offering a daily print newspaper, to offering a daily online news site, to offering the daily online and a weekly print magazine in a matter of a few years. At I can sign up to recieve news updates on Twitter or become the publication's friend on Facebook. Certainly we all agree that journalism is changing.

It seems like I could go to a panel discussion about this topic each week if I had the time, but this panel was different because of the audience. Maybe it was the time of day or maybe it was the hosting organization, but I was probably the second youngest person in the room- beat by a senior at the University of Washington.

A woman in the audience raised her hand and commented on the fact that she desperately missed the print Seattle Post Intelligencer. She shared that she was willing to follow the news online at the, but had yet to arrange her internet connection so that it wouldn't interfere with her phone.

I know that my Grandpa, at more than 80-years-old, is willing to read this blog as a way to stay in touch with family. If the audience is capable and willing, how long will it be before we move all news information from ink and paper to the internet? Will you trust it Grandpa?

Friday, April 17, 2009

After the event: Professor Zaenger

On Wednesday I was invited to speak to a PR class at Seattle University.

A combination of about 20 sophomores, juniors and seniors majoring in everything from business to English listened as I explained how professional networking is a lot like corporate campaign development.

Here were my three steps in program development/professional networking:

1. Planning (Research & organization)

I explained that on a broad level planning means figuring out what industry is most important to you. Tactically, however, research and organization means completing your due diligence. Before a job seeker can even begin sending out cover letters, he or she must find basic company information and contacts and create a progress table listing:
  • Companies I want to work at
  • Companies I've spoken to (interned, informational interviews)
  • Companies I need to speak to
  • Companies I've applied at
I recommended creating a 'little black book' of admirable organizations and admirable people. For each entry, the job seeker documents what is known about the company and/or individual- past, present and future.

2. Implementation (Network, informational interview, Twitter, Internship)

I explained that implementation on an individual level lets people know you exist. Job seekers need to have experience- volunteer or paid- to demonstrate to potential employers that you have the capacity to work hard and learn quickly. The best way to find any work opportunity is by Tweeting, interviewing (others) and networking.

An easy first step is by listening through Twitter. Individuals can learn a lot about what industry leaders are saying and considering just by following the links that people post. There are helpful discussions like #hcsm and #journchat for professionals who want to connect with others in a particular area of interest. Once you find the professionals, attend a local Tweetup to meet face-to-face.

Informational interviews are the most valuable face-to-face time you can spend with professionals. Divide your 30-minutes (no more than that) into three areas: asking about the professional's background, asking about the company they work for, and asking about the industry as a whole. Always inquire about how you should be preparing for your career today.

Join local associations or social networks (like Biznik) and attend events. To me, this is 'invested networking' because you learn from a presentor and get to mingle with professionals interested in the same topics you are.

3. Evaluation (Follow up. Forever.)

I explained that following up doesn't mean just one thank you a day later, but rather relationship development on a quarterly basis. Follow your contact's business in the media and congratulate him/her when something good happens, subscribe to their corporate newsletter and then comment, recognize holidays, events and occasions. At the very least send contacts a status report on your search.

As it turns out, I love teaching adults. The class was a blast and I learned a lot from the experience. I may not be a networking expert, but I was happy to share the tactics I use.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009